- Nov 20, 2007
- Reaction score
The development of a completely novel type of telecommunications satellite has been approved.
To be called Quantum and built in the UK, the 3.5-tonne spacecraft will break new ground by being totally reconfigurable in orbit.
Normally, the major mission parameters on satellites - such as their ground coverage pattern and their operating frequencies - are fixed before launch.
Quantum is a European Space Agency telecoms project.
For SSTL, Quantum makes another important step in the evolution of the one-time, small university spin-out.
It started by making small Earth observation satellites for use in low-Earth orbit a few hundred km above the planet. Quantum will be its first platform to be sited 36,000 up in the geostationary telecoms arc.
"This is something we've been looking to do now for some years," said SSTL's John Paffett.
"To get here, we've had to develop a number of key technologies and ways of working, such as larger satellite structures, higher power systems, and radiation-tolerant electronics. But this is just a first product. Our intention is take this capability into small telecoms satellites, to stimulate new markets and applications."